China last month rang in the Year of the Dog, and on April 20 will spread the puppy love with Wes Anderson’s Isle Of Dogs. The stop-motion animated pic debuted as the opener of the Berlin Film Festival in February and yesterday secured an official release date in the Middle Kingdom.
This is the third Fox Searchlight title ever to be released in China, after Oscar winners The Shape Of Water and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri. Isle Of Dogs is going in as a revenue-share film under the quota system, as did Shape Of Water which just had a terrific $10.5M opening weekend. Three Billboards was a rev-share release under the National Alliance of Arthouse Cinemas. It has grossed $8.84M to date.
Joy Pictures, which has worked on such titles as Lionsgate’s Wonder and La La Land, is the local marketing partner on the film, Deadline has confirmed. Chinese audiences love dogs and movies about dogs — 2017’s A Dog’s Purpose grossed over $88M there while 2009 film Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (never released theatrically in the U.S.) is very popular. It’s not unheard of to see special screenings organized with audience members bringing along their pets to watch movies together. Searchlight has already been setting up such BYOD screenings in other markets.
Isle Of Dogs, which charmed Berlin and won Anderson the Silver Bear Best Director prize, recently played SXSW and is due for domestic release on Friday. It tells the story of Atari Kobayashi, 12-year-old ward to corrupt Mayor Kobayashi. When, by Executive Decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump, Atari sets off alone in a miniature Junior-Turbo Prop and flies to Trash Island in search of his bodyguard-dog, Spots. There, with the assistance of a pack of newly-found mongrel friends, he begins an epic journey that will decide the fate and future of the entire Prefecture.
The voice cast includes Bryan Cranston, Koyu Rankin, Edward Norton, Liev Schreiber, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, Jeff Goldblum, Scarlett Johansson, Kunichi Nomura, Tilda Swinton, Ken Watanabe, Akira Ito, Greta Gerwig, Akira Takayama, Frances McDormand, F Murray Abraham, Courtney B. Vance, Yojiro Noda, Fisher Stevens, Mari Natsuki, Nijiro Murakami, Yoko Ono, Harvey Keitel and Frank Wood.